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Blast From The Past – Celtic

Scottish League

21st December 1957

Celtic 2 Partick Thistle 3

Younger Thistle fans are going to think I have taken leave of my senses, when I say that in the good old days we could from time to time defeat Celtic and Rangers, even away from home. I have chosen to highlight one such occasion, and I hope you enjoy hearing about it as much as I will, telling you about it, even though it happened such a long time ago.

As a student at Glasgow University, I was delivering Christmas mail for the Post Office, but I made sure my wallet, as the sacks were known in those far-off days, was empty in plenty of time for me to make my way to Parkhead for the 2:15pm kick-off. I was well rewarded for my trouble by the following occupants of the red and yellow jerseys:- David Thomson, standing in for regular ‘keeper Tommy Ledgerwood, Peter Collins, Dougie Baird, Davie Mathers, Scottish international Jimmy Davidson, Frank Donlevy, George Smith, John Harvey, Andy Kerr, Alex Wright, Davie McParland.

These boys were heroes. Giving the Thistle fans a very welcome early Christmas present. The goals were provided by the elegant Davie Mathers, a class act when on form, Andy Kerr, originally a defender who became a Scottish international centre-forward, and John Harvey, not by any means a regular goalscorer. Incidentally, in the case of Andy Kerr, he reversed the normal trend of an attacking player becoming a midfielder or defender in the later stages of his career. Andy, from Lugar Boswell Thistle, was originally a centre-half, moved to full-back and then eventually was outstanding as a centre-forward.

Trust Thistle to do things differently, turning Christmas delight, with virtually the same team into a New Year horror show. You will find it hard to believe the result on 4th January 1958. Wait for it! Partick Thistle 1 Queen’s Park 4. No wonder we became the great unpredictables!

I must quote from the notes within the game’s match programme:-

“Our visitors today are Partick Thistle, whom we are always happy to welcome to Parkhead” (maybe less so after the 3-2 defeat). Down through the years the Jags have always been both the delight and the despair of their faithful followers, owing to their consistent inconsistency”

Well that says it all, does it not?

Fast forward to 2nd May 1995: Celtic 1 Thistle 3 (at Hampden because of renovation work at Parkhead). We haven’t beaten them since, and it’s now 2019, so that’s 24 years, the absolute minimum age you must be now to have seen Thistle triumph over Celtic. To be honest, a fair number must be added to that unless you were taken to Thistle games as a babe in arms. I hope I have got the arithmetic of all that right. After all, I’m a linguist, not a mathematician, so that’s my excuse!


Robert R.

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